BLAISE TAPP: Arguing the toss has never felt so good

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Like all faithful contrarians, I like a row – some people rely on cod liver oil or a pot of posh coffee, but I swear by an old fashioned barney to keep me lively. 

I am not one for fisticuffs, I never have been, but I do enjoy a debate – the more heated the better.

When the mood takes me, I will argue about almost anything: who was the best Bond, who is the greatest footballer ever – it is Maradona every time for me – and, the biggest talking point of them all: ketchup or brown sauce? 

There is no debate to be had with that one: red sauce is never acceptable in a bacon or sausage bap, and I would go as far as saying it is bordering on sacrilege.

But trivial culinary matters have taken a backseat in the last year or so, largely due to seismic news events such as Brexit and Trump. I would go as far as saying that after the initial kick in the teeth of both political earthquakes, my willingness to argue the toss has become even stronger.

The chaos which is unravelling on both sides of the Atlantic has resulted in something of a golden age for wind-up merchants such as myself, who love nothing more than getting a rise out of red-faced 60-somethings who no longer wish to discuss issues, which they angrily insist, were settled last year.

The internet has allowed people like me to fall out with cranky strangers, especially ones who have a picture of their cat or national flag where their profile picture ought to be.

Technology really has broadened our horizons when it comes to falling out with fellow man, and it has allowed me to hone my debating skills to a point where I probably win more arguments than I lose.

But there is one place where I am most certainly the underdog when it comes to arguing the toss, and that's across the threshold of my own home.

It appears I am not on my own, if you believe the findings of the latest silly season survey, which revealed that the average couple have an impressive 30 arguments per year over who is the last to leave the house.

For the past 20 years I have been on a continuous hiding to nothing when it comes to the thorny issue of who was ready first. It doesn’t matter if I have had my coat and shoes on for half an hour and have watched the beginning of Holby City while the other half changes her top for the eighth time – what matters is who is out the door first and when you are halfway through the BBC’s second-best hospital-based drama, it is easy to be distracted.

What this not-so-scientific study also revealed is that the bickering increases when the holiday season begins – especially when travelling to the airport. As we all know, the average man is never in any particular rush to catch a flight, even less so when there is an opportunity to enjoy the first overpriced drink of the holiday in the airport bar.

My holiday begins once the luggage is checked in, while Mrs Tapp will only unwind once we have reached our destination and the kids are in bed.

There are some arguments that we are destined never to win.